When envisioning the perfect space to practice yoga, what comes to your mind? Typically, it’s an airy, spacious studio that invites you to stretch out your limbs and soak up natural light as you do your sun salutations. And when you’re looking to ace an indoor-outdoor vibe, the right windows can really be all the difference.
As one of Hong Kong’s pre-eminent design studios, Bean Buro’s team are experts in creating minimalistic abodes that have an illusion of extra-spaciousness thanks to the clever manipulation of light and materials.
As for their proverbial weapon of choice? Bean Buro turns to frequent collaborator JS Aluminium Window — a longtime premium European window purveyor in Hong Kong — which offers a plethora of tools to help you transform any space and instantly give it a more breathable, resort vibe.
A little context about the client: Like many who pursue the lifelong passion of yoga, Chau-kei Ngai documents her daily practice on her social media feed: You’ll find endless photos of her wrapping herself up in pretzel-like poses with plenty of strength-testing finesse. In particular, you’ll find snapshots of her tackling a difficult pose at her recently launched yoga studio YogaUp in Discovery Bay, which features a sunny terrace space with ocean-facing views.
The venerated yogi — named the International Sports Federation champion in 2013 — is a regular headliner at wellness festivals. She teaches at centres across town, at Adidas pop-ups, and at her own studio, which provides teacher training, boutique classes and pop-up retreats.
Ngai struggled with chest pains and breathlessness all her life, a result of being born prematurely where she required a ventilator to survive her first few months (her parents, as a result, had named her ‘the miracle in the fall’). A high-pressure stint in interior design in Taipei after graduating university in Vancouver also exacerbated this breathlessness. That all lasted until she discovered yoga in 2005.
Fourteen years of teaching yoga later, whilst her lung ailments are a thing of the past, fresh air, light and breathability are indispensable design elements — not to mention crucial pillars of yoga — that Ngai keeps conscious of in her practice as well as at YogaUp.
Ngai’s spacious studio (pictured in its current untouched stage below) already frames the idyllic Discovery Bay landscape and places its relaxing balcony in the spotlight.
Yet, to make the most of the ocean-facing unit, Hong Kong interior design firm Bean Buro has envisioned ways to enhance the light-filled quality of the studio, namely using slim hardware and sleek, barely-there accessories. Here’s their recommendations on how to complete an indoor-outdoor vibe in this kind of space:
Bean Buro founders Kenny Kinugasa-Tsui and Lorène Faure selected slim-framed roof windows to really maximise the light in the studio. As opposed to having simply horizontal-facing windows, a skylight can bring in plenty more light from above, while also showcasing stunning blue skies on days when the weather is great. They can also come with retractable sun shades as needed.
Rainstorm-proof folding doors
An indoor-outdoor vibe can seemingly allow the interior space to stretch outwards, giving it the illusion of even more square footage. JS Aluminium Window recommends using window systems by Belgium brand Aliplast or German label Solarlux: These sets of folding doors can withstand high wind load and prevent rainwater leakage, working exceptionally well against Hong Kong’s torrential monsoon weather (However to make them fully typhoon resistant, you’ll also want to install additional Alulux shutters). They open up create a space-saving area that really bring the beautiful ocean view to the centre of attention, while also ensuring no leakages during the strongest storms.
Slim sliding doors
Sometimes, the original hardware that comes with the apartment, studio or living space can be rather clunky. These trim line sliding doors by German brand Solarlux minimise the blockage to the spectacular vista. Part of the Cero range, these lightweight sliding doors feature large-format panels that make the room appear taller than it is, drawing outwards from the centre to create an almost seamless view out onto Discovery Bay.
Oversized retractable shading
These slick-looking translucent window blinds from Canadian brand Phantom Screens are not your average insect screens. Featuring a wide span of up to 40 feet, the sleek look of the blinds create a subtlety that doesn’t distract from the overall design of the room. They’re, of course, functional — JS Aluminium Window recommends them to control solar gain and glare into the yoga studio, which is especially handy to temper against the hot sun in the mornings and afternoons — or to quietly dim the room during the savasana or meditative portions of a class. Moreover, the blinds are fully controlled with automation, leaving less hassle for the instructor when they want to roll them up or down.
To further accessorise a space designed for yoga, the designers were inspired by ‘the body,’ with a comfortable, fleshy, visceral aesthetic accentuated by the voluptuous Roly-Poly chair by Faye Toogood, a curvy geometric rug by Patricia Urquiola, and a rose gold pendant lamp.
To offer a stylistic link to the ocean view, Bean Buro imagines installing a unique backdrop: A wavy feature wall inspired by the late Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. Using a muted blue surface, it’s meant to form an intriguing dialogue with the undulating waves of the sea as you look outside — once again bringing the outside inwards.